The other night at work, one of my co-workers dropped by my department to say hello. He had seen me in the audience of a program that was shown on C-SPAN's Book TV, and wanted to mention it to me -- a nice gesture.
That sort of action wasn't out of character for Lonnie, who was still on the job at the age of 81. He was a friendly presence in the newsroom whenever he worked, and made the rounds when he handed out papers on Saturday nights.
The next night, I turned on my computer to start the work day as usual. The electronic message greeting me was anything but usual. Lonnie had gone home after work the previous night, and died. That was quite a shock.
Two feelings swept through the workplace that day. One was the obvious sadness for Lonnie, whose upbeat attitude will be remembered and missed.
The other came when people started thinking about working until 81 and not retiring. Most didn't know him well enough to find out the reasons why Lonnie did that, but most immediately concluded "That's not going to happen to me."
It's an old moral but a relevant one: Smell the roses while you can.